Dunlop to tell Flood of payments

FURTHER details about payments of up to £5,000 made by Frank Dunlop to councillors in return for alleged planning favours on lands at Carrickmines are expected to emerge at the Flood Tribunal today.

Mr Dunlop was yesterday described as a “self-confessed perjurer” by lawyers for one of the nine past and serving members of Dublin County Council. The councillors allegedly received payments from the former Government press secretary in relation to lands owned at Carrickmines by Jackson Way Properties.

However, an application by lawyers for former Fine Gael TD Liam Cosgrave to have access to all documents relating to allegations made by Mr Dunlop was refused by the three-person tribunal.

Tribunal barrister Des O’Neill argued successfully that to permit such disclosure would make the task of the inquiry “unmanageable to the point of being unworkable”.

Mr Dunlop is expected to give details of as many as five separate payments to Mr Cosgrave - son and grandson of former Taoisigh - in relation to the Jackson Way lands.

At the start of yesterday’s hearing in Dublin Castle, Michael O'Higgins SC for Mr Cosgrave said Mr Dunlop had alleged his client had been given three such payments in the early 1990s. They were £2,000 in 1991; £5,000 in 1992 and £1,000 in 1993.

Mr O’Higgins said these donations all coincided with local, general and Seanad elections during those years. “Nowhere is it alleged that Mr Cosgrave entered into any agreement on foot of these payments, at the time or subsequently, to do anything for these monies,” said Mr O’Higgins.

He acknowledged Mr Dunlop said it was his understanding there was an unspoken agreement the donations were to assist rezoning motions.

It is understood Mr Dunlop has also claimed he paid Mr Cosgrave - a current member of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council - a further £5,000 in 1997.

The tribunal revealed yesterday its current investigation into the lands owned by Jackson Way is just one of 20 modules which will examine controversial land rezoning decisions in Dublin over the past two decades.

It is also investigating 10 other matters which do not relate directly to rezoning.

Tribunal counsel John Gallagher SC admitted much of the evidence over the coming months would be “technical, detailed, turgid and hard to follow”.

He also issued a veiled warning to future witnesses about the new, increased penalties that could be imposed on people who fail to co-operate with the inquiry. Since the enactment of the Tribunals of Inquiry (Amendment) Act 2002, the maximum fine for such an offence upon indictment has increased from €12,700 to €300,000, with maximum prison terms of two years.

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